A man who barfed in the foyer of Toby’s Carvery at the Exeter Arms, Middlemoor, UK, on the evening of Sunday, March 29, 2015 tested positive for Norovirus.
The restaurant closed, reopened, and then reclosed two days later for “technical difficulties” after at least 100 people subsequently were sickened by noro, including all 24 staff at a local charity, the Cat Protection League, who visited the restaurant for a leaving meal for a deputy manager.
The Mid-Devon Advertiser reports the pub and restaurant, which are owned and run by the brewers Mitchells and Butlers, have applied to the court to have the case dismissed and have commissioned their own specialist reports.
Mitchells and Butlers, which is based at Fleet Street, Birmingham, runs 1,784 pubs and restaurants all over Britain including the Toby Carvery, All Bar One, Browns, and Harvester chains.
They are accused of a single offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to ensure the safety of customers at the Toby Carvery in Exeter between March 28 and April 8, 2015.
The charge specifies that they ’failed to conduct an undertaking in such a way as to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment who may have been affected thereby, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety’.
Mr John Cooper, QC, defending, asked that the company should not be asked to enter a plea until a special hearing on their application to dismiss the case had been heard.
He said they also intend to argue that the case is an abuse of process.
Mr Simon Morgan, prosecuting on behalf of Exeter City Council, said they plan to serve more expert evidence in the next few weeks.